Alright! Everything is packed. Got my passport. Let me not forget the camera to take some awesome memory shots. (Aren’t you forgetting something though?)
No, I seem pretty much prepared, unless……..wait do you mean my toothbrush? Nope! Is it my sunscreen? Not even! Guess again….or in fact, let me tell you. APPS! Wait what. Apps? On my phone? Why is that necessary now? Funny you should ask, because not everyone’s super aware of how unique and useful having certain apps can be, especially in Japan! In fact, with such advancements in the world today, there’s an app for almost anything.
However, let’s not dig so deep into the world of apps today, but instead, here’s a list of apps you should definitely download to make your next trip to Japan a travelling experience that’s worth it! (#dreaming)
Of course we need to learn this first. In a foreign country where nothing is close to your normal route, you’d definitely need to know where you are going, or how to get there (yes let’s not wind up in an onsen when we were actually looking for a cafe…lol!). Check out these awesome apps that can help steer you along the right path:
As you step foot onto the land of the rising sun, take a deep breath in and say “yes, I made it!”. Next comes the tricky part. How do I get to my hotel? Whether you are flying solo or not, finding your way to your accommodation to have a good rest before an energized day of adventuring begins is a must!
Get JapanTaxi, an ideal and convenient app designed with over 61,000 taxis readily available. Usable in all the 47 prefectures, it boasts a wide area of service. Payment is within your reach as it can be done online once you input the relevant information (but you should check if the company allows online payment first).
Ready to hail a taxi? Just simply choose your pick-up location and your destination, and tap the button. Feel free to check the varying rates before you decide, or even the company you prefer.
Not just an app but a friend in all your adventures, is one sentence that describes Maps.me. Standing out as the best offline mapping tool internationally, simply download your map area, input your route and get ready for a spectacular journey ahead!
Acquiring its data from OpenStreetMap, this app makes it quite a favourite for offline assistance. Saves you the hassle of sourcing WiFi spots to find your way!
Japan Travel by Navitime
Any person travelling does not want to stand out too much as a foreigner now, do we? Of course not. Looking like a lost bird isn’t the main aim, so that’s why this app’s defining statement says “get around like a local”. Yes! Don’t mind if I do!
Walk through Japan like a fearless adventurer as the app, Japan Travel (by Navitime), fully provides you with the essentials. The maps function is great in helping you locate nearby spots such as ATMs or WiFi hotspots, which of their route search is effective in finding the most efficient way to get somewhere.
Also, learn more as you travel with their guides. This comes in super handy as the ultimate function of this app allows you to plan your own itinerary, as it calculates the total time and cost of the trip once you are done!
Japan Transit Planner (Norikae Annai) by Jorudan
A multilingual app purposed to aid in your travels, allowing comfortable movement in Japan. Japan transit planner helps you check in with you nearby stations and map out your direct route of travel for a trouble-free trip.
Input your location and destination, then check your route. It can supply information related to the cost and also calculates an average time of your transit schedule due to the availability of the station timetable.
Ecbo Cloak *Additional App* (Golden find!)
Imagine the most awkward situation of checking out your accommodations hours earlier than your scheduled flight, so you decide why not go exploring one more time to grasp all the excitement you can!
What am I going to do with all my bags though? Well Ecbo cloak is the nifty app that comes to save your day!
An economy service app for luggage storage, this app relieves the hassle of finding a place to store your items while capturing your memories. So instead of lugging all the heavy….well luggage!
Find a storage space near you at great prices depending on the sizes of your items. Reserve a space and conveniently pay the fee online. (simple and quite the help!)
I want that over there! Oh no, what if I say the wrong thing and the locals mistake me? What to do, what to do.
Yes, this is only a snippet of the questions you will be asking yourself especially if you aren’t fluent in Japanese. Our connection to the locals will be just as important as getting around and therefore, here are some apps you should be sure to have on hand (you’ll thank me when you get the correct food you wanted…lol):
First, let’s make sure you can definitely order that delicious bowl of ramen correctly. The app, Imiwa is an offline multilingual Japanese dictionary, where you can find word meanings in 5 different languages!
Access many sentences, learning words not only in context but also pronounce them accurately with the app’s functions. This means interacting with locals becomes as easy as onigiri for everyone! (haha)
Available on: App store.
When you’re in a foreign country, we don’t take into consideration that not only the people here speak another language, but their entire environment is based around it as well. From road signs to a sign at a cafe window, everything will mostly be written in Japanese, with a few exceptions as some will have English.
Fear not! This app saves you the many troubles you are about to encounter by just downloading Yomiwa. Simply take a photo of the sign you’d like translated, and it does it for you! What a lifesaver it is!
Wait. The name of the app is called Japanese? Yes! It is. Quite simple, and self explanatory, this app acts as the ultimate self-study companion! Whether you’re just a beginner or a language enthusiast for years, don’t let the Japanese disappear from memory eternally, but instead, keep the momentum with you, even offline.
Equipped with over 175,000 dictionary entries, 58,000 example sentences, references and flashcard study tools, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with by mastering the Japanese language.
Available on: App store.
Now there is no way you can step foot in another country and not take the chance to savour the cuisine there. Quite unthinkable it is! Definitely you’ve got to grab hold of the local cuisine and the regional specialities on your travels, and Japan for one has lots to offer when it comes to food.
Here are some apps that’s just up the alley to help you navigate the culinary world of Japanese culture:
Gourmet Navigator (GuruNavi)
Speaking of navigate, this app is called Gourmet Navigator (shortened to GuruNavi) and presents itself to you in the simplest sentence ever; “ Restaurants at your fingertip”. Not everyone is quite aware that the restaurant industry in Japan is booming, being close to the top with over 400 Michelin starred restaurants!
This puts them in high demand for trying out the food and experiencing the cuisine culture. With that being said, there’s a multitude of choices to try your taste buds at when it comes to food, both locally and internationally.
Discover a restaurant of your choice depending on your location or the category of food you are looking for which searches through their database of over 50,000 restaurants. Only disadvantage of this app is that it only supports the Japanese language. However, I believe with your enthusiastic and passionate soul who has been studying Japanese all along can easily ‘Navigate’ this app well! (hehe)
Are you a huge lover of sushi but never paid attention to the many differences of the sushi world? That’s alright because I’m the same (lol).
The app; Sushi dictionary, is a genius invention created to help everyone out there get that sushi lingo down! Simply said, it’s a dictionary filled with tons of sushi menu items that’s searchable.
It can help you read and know the difficult sushi names easily. Also, if you click the little fish icon at the top, it searches up on the internet to show you photos of what the item looks like. Get learning and the next time you go to a sushi restaurant, you can blow the chef away with your newly found sushi knowledge! (there we go! A master trick unveiled!…lol).
Available on: Play store.
Stay in the know with Japan’s ramen scene! You wouldn’t believe it when I found this out, but in order to make this app become a reality, over 10,000 bowls of ramen were eaten! (wow! すごい).
Ramen Beast is therefore a supreme app when it comes to locating your next bowl of ramen. A guide for any foodie, it comes fully loaded with only the finest shops sourced across the nation for your viewing (yum!).
With a map showing the ramen near you, check out the shop’s rating and information easily in your palm, and conveniently decide your next ramen stop! (what are you waiting for?)
Available on: App store.
BE AWARE! LIFE-SAVER APPS:
Whether your reason for going to Japan is to live there or travel around, it’s always advisable to be in the know of natural disasters.
Especially where there are vast, tall buildings, you won’t want to be unaware of your next move in case an earthquake were to occur.
Therefore, with such vast improvements in modern technology, apps were actually designed to aid in the preparation and response to natural disasters and emergencies you can encounter in Japan:
With information from the Japan meteorological agency, Yurekuru Call utilizes the earthquake early warning by a push notification. It quickly notifies you of seismic activity and information on the expected time of further tremors.
You can share your own experience with the earthquake’s intensity and also view the comments of the situation in other areas, but also provides you with an alert of any oncoming tsunamis.
A smartphone service that gives you the best emergency news to the tee! NERV was built to help people living or visiting areas where disaster would usually occur and help them quickly assess the situation to be safe.
When it comes to earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions or any other weather-related issues, NERV helps provide information dependent on the user’s location, in that they can be alert on how to avoid some situations.
Now, now, you no longer have a reason to be NERVous right? (lol).
Your trip to Japan becomes all the more exciting once you get a hang of these amazing apps! You will no longer feel anxious when it comes to communication or finding your way. Travelling is made so much easier!
So of course, with your phone all geared up for your next Japan travels, enjoy your adventuring with an ease of mind, but also don’t forget your camera to collect tons of memories! (ka-chick!- there you go!)
Join our “Plan for Japan” online experience with a local guide to get more tips for your next trip!
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